Getting to know Truck Equipment, Inc.
Jordan Schroeder, President
Please briefly describe the history of Truck Equipment, Inc.
Truck Equipment was founded in 1959 by Isadore “Ise” Kwaterski and Cletus Pierquet. In 1978, Lynn Schroeder joined Truck Equipment as a parts manager. Lynn became the owner of the organization in 2005. Jordan Schroeder, Lynn’s son, joined Truck Equipment in 2010 as its controller. Jordan was promoted to president in 2015. Truck Equipment is a family-owned and run business currently transitioning ownership to the second generation of the Schroeder family.
Please briefly describe your company’s distribution structure: What do you sell, who are your vendors, who are your customers, etc.?
Truck Equipment is a diversified company offering aftermarket parts sales; truck and trailer repair; commercial truck equipment sales, service and installation; snow and ice removal equipment; new and used trailer sales and service; semi-trailer rental and leasing; hydraulic sales and service; and a sign and graphics shop. Our customers are fleets, municipalities, repair shops, construction contractors, etc. Anyone with a medium- to heavy-duty piece of equipment both on highway and off highway. Our suppliers are aftermarket and OE companies that distribute medium- and heavy-duty components and equipment.
What separates Truck Equipment from competitors in its marketplace?
Being a one-stop shop combined with the knowledge and expertise that we have to offer our customers to go along with the products and services we provide. Although we are a diversified company we are focused on all of the products we sell and work hard to ensure we have the people and expertise to back them up.
How do you believe customers perceive your business?
A trustworthy, quality and fair organization with a knowledgeable staff focused on offering quality products and services to meet their needs.
How and why have your customers stayed loyal to your business?
One of the largest reasons is because of our people. Throughout Truck Equipment we have a number of key individuals that our customers have come to know and trust. We wouldn’t be where we are today without these individuals. Thank you to each and every one of them!
What is one thing most customers/suppliers don’t know about Truck Equipment that would surprise/impress them? (i.e., tell us something about Truck Equipment we don’t know)
How diversified we really are. A lot of our customers and suppliers see and/or hear of the diverse products and services we provide, but they may only have an up close experience with one or two of our offerings and typically do not see the full depth of our offerings.
What are the pros and cons are for working for a family-owned business?
I feel that the culture that can be obtained from a family-owned business is second to none. The business can become of family of its own. In my opinion most family businesses are more caring, family friendly and have a stronger focus on individuals.
What makes Truck Equipment a great place to work?
Our focus on people and the team. In our company there’s a strong focus on our people and relationships. It’s not always just about the bottom line today and our goal is to share in the success of the organization. We are very focused on the future for Truck Equipment as a whole and the individuals that make up the team.
How vital is it to have quality employees entering your business from younger generations, and how are you trying to recruit these younger professionals?
Extremely vital. The demographics of our country is shifting. We are aging as a nation as are many of our organizations. There’s a strong need for talent across all industries to take the place of retirees and additional hires. I feel strongly that a great place to start is by promoting our industry to our high schools and middle schools to get kids thinking about the heavy-duty industry. We’re working on doing our part to attract younger generations to our industry by participating in career fairs at the middle school and high school level. In addition, we have hired on one youth apprentice in each of our shops. I am also active on advisory committees at our local technical schools.
Do you feel Truck Equipment is in the position to change with the times? If so how?
Yes. We are very focused on the future and staying in front of change within our industry and business as a whole. We are doing this by strengthening our focus on the needs of our customers, suppliers, and the industry. By participating in both industry and non-industry specific events and groups were able to take advantage of new opportunities or adjust our current state.
Do you have any advice for the next generation, as they work in this industry?
I’m part of the next generation. I see this industry as one rich with opportunities. It’s an exciting and rewarding industry to be a part of.
What are your goals for the long-term future of Truck Equipment?
Growth across all of our product and service offerings and an even stronger focus on each of them. To continue being a quality one stop shop for our customers and the partner of choice for suppliers and other business partners.
Why did Truck Equipment join GenNext? How can GenNext help Truck Equipment’s employees?
Truck Equipment joined GenNext to support an organization focused on attracting, training and mentoring industry talent. GenNext can help our employees by continuing to offer and strengthening training opportunities such as the Distributor Training Expo, webinars, etc.
What are the three most pivotal moments in your career that you either learned from and/or that got you where you are?
At 33 years old I have had a number of experiences and opportunities that most people at my age have not had. I also have not taken the typical path to get to where I am today. After high school I spent about eight years working in the construction industry with about six of those years spent being a professional truck driver and crane operator never imagining I would be where I am today. Throughout those years of driving I learned a lot from what I refer to as my fellow “ground floor” workers by listening to their struggles, wins, frustrations and general thoughts and opinions on management. While I did end up going back to school and earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting, I feel that the eight years of education that I received from being a ground floor worker myself is equal to, if not more important, than my college education. I feel those eight years have truly made me a better leader and has helped get me where I am today.
Are there any industry leaders that have influenced you/mentored you? Who were they and how has their knowledge assisted you?
My father is one individual along with a number of the many industry veterans that are a part of Truck Equipment and the industry. I have learned a lot of the past history, successes and failures of the industry which I have taken in and combined with where we are today and where our organization and the industry is headed. I am very future focused, but there is always something we can learn from the past.